Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How to Arrange a Wedding in the Extraordinary Form

Tridentine Community News (August 21, 2011):
In recent months, a number of readers have asked how to plan for Tridentine weddings and funerals. While the circumstances surrounding those two types of events are entirely different, many of the factors pertaining to arranging Masses for them are actually quite similar.

Tridentine Weddings and Funerals are regularly held at St. Josaphat Church and Windsor’s Assumption Church. They are also possible at Detroit’s St. Joseph, Sweetest Heart of Mary, and St. Albertus Churches. Further, the 2007 Motu Proprio Summórum Pontíficum and the 2011 Instruction Univérsæ Ecclésiæ allow any pastor the option of granting permission for a Tridentine wedding or funeral in his church, even if the church does not regularly host Extraordinary Form Masses. You are thus free to ask any pastor’s permission if you have a desire to use a different church. The priests, musicians, and servers from St. Josaphat and Assumption will be happy to help you with a funeral or wedding held elsewhere.

A couple planning a Catholic wedding of any sort must adhere to parish and diocesan guidelines to prepare for the wedding. The couple should contact the pastor of the parish, or, at Assumption Church, the Latin Mass Community Chaplain, Fr. Peter Hrytsyk, who for the purposes of this discussion serves the function of pastor. Marriage preparation classes may be required, along with a series of meetings with a priest, deacon, or other designated staff. At the discretion of the pastor, the marriage prep might be permissible to be had through another parish. The amount of advance notice required to be given for the wedding varies. It is essential to contact the church(es) you are considering as far in advance as possible, for marriage prep purposes, to ensure that your preferred date and time is available, and to understand the costs that are involved at each venue.

A wedding desired at St. Albertus Church will need its sacramental records recorded with St. Joseph Parish, in whose canonical territory St. Albertus resides. Marriage prep will need to be discussed with Fr. Roman and arranged at St. Joseph or elsewhere. A stipend to St. Joseph Parish for these services is appropriate for a wedding at St. Albertus.

The choice of celebrant is a mutual decision between yourself, the pastor, and if relevant, the third party priest. A pastor has the right to determine which priests may celebrate weddings in his church.

The music program for your wedding can vary from an organist alone, to a small choir, to an orchestra and full choir. Our churches are experienced in providing all of these options. Of course, the more elaborate the music, the more it will cost. See our music director, Wassim Sarweh, after one of our Tridentine Masses to begin this planning process.

Likewise, a Tridentine Mass can have as few as four altar servers for a sung Mass, or as many as eleven if torches (candles) are desired. Like musicians and singers, altar servers for a wedding receive a stipend. See altar server Alex Begin after one of our Tridentine Masses to make arrangements.

Stipends for use of the church, and flower and decoration guidelines vary. Contact the parish for details. In general, you are responsible to clean up the decorations and any sort of “mess” that might be left over after the Mass.

A Unity Candle is not permissible in an Extraordinary Form Nuptial Mass. The presentation of flowers at the Blessed Mother’s altar at the conclusion of Mass is customary but not required. Photographers are not allowed in the high pulpit or inside the Communion Rail. Please e-mail the address at the bottom of this page if you have questions about the process or ceremony.

How to Arrange a Funeral in the Extraordinary Form

The first and most important point when planning a Tridentine Funeral Mass for yourself or a loved one is to make your wishes known to as many people as possible in advance. If you are planning your own funeral, your wishes for your Funeral Mass should not be guessed and cannot wait until the reading of your Will. Too many people devoted to the Extraordinary Form have had Ordinary Form funerals simply because their families were not aware, or did not know to whom to turn.

It is imperative when calling a church to arrange a funeral that you explain in very clear terms that you want a “Traditional Latin Tridentine” funeral Mass. Those who answer the phones may not be familiar with the term “Extraordinary Form” or even “Tridentine”. Be prepared to explain in detail what you want, to supply the name of priest(s) who can celebrate the Mass, and to arrange musicians and altar servers yourself. Our parishes still offer more Ordinary Form than Extraordinary Form funerals, so the staff is likely to assume that you, like most, want the former.

In 1962, the year of the currently in-force Extraordinary Form Missal, cremation was not an option for Catholics. Today it is permissible, although it is not a traditional option. The Extraordinary Form missal makes no provision for cremated remains to be present at a Funeral Mass. A practical option is to have the deceased’s body present at the Funeral Mass before it is cremated. Otherwise, we are faced with the quandary of whether to conduct the ceremony of Absolution at a Catafalque, which stands in for a body not present. Arguably having both a Catafalque and the deceased’s ashes present constitutes an inappropriate redundancy.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 08/22 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Immaculate Heart of Mary)

Tue. 08/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Philip Benizi, Confessor)

Wed. 08/24 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Bartholomew, Apostle)

Fri. 08/26 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Our Lady of Czestochowa, Second Patron of St. Josaphat Parish)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for August 21, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am Catholic but my fiance is Evangelical. Is it possible to have a wedding in the EF?